You’ve finally got yourself revved up enough to lose those 5-10 extra pounds and start exercising regularly. You hit the treadmill 4 times a week, and maybe as an afterthought you pick up a pair of 2 pound dumbbells and do 15-20 reps of an exercise you’ve seen on a workout video. You’re also eating pretty good. So what’s the deal when the scale drops by a few pounds but look-wise you’re not any tighter or more toned?
In this blog, I’m going to tell you exactly what you should be doing instead to get the fit, sexy body you really want. Read on!
When I ask women what their biggest goals are, the answer I hear most often is they want to lose a few pounds, get tighter and have more tone and definition. What they often don’t realize is that lots of cardio and lightweight strength-training (think 2 pound dumbbells) is not the answer!
Strength-training (aka weight-lifting, bodybuilding, resistance training) is THE solution to getting your fit, sexy, toned body!
The way you get your body to look more fit and toned is through building muscle, which only happens through regular strength-training and lifting heavy enough to stimulate muscle growth.
What does lifting heavy enough mean? It’s basically choosing a challenging enough weight (either with dumbbells or on a gym machine) where you can barely squeeze out 12 repetitions (reps) in each set. If you’re getting to 15 reps or beyond, the weight is too light and it’s time for you to increase that weight.
Now you may think that heavy (or even somewhat heavy) weight-lifting is just for guys. And that as a female, if you do that you’ll get bulky.
I’m here to bust that myth and tell you this is 100% not true!! Unless you’re taking steroids and eating a ton of food (like a lot a lot), I promise you won’t get bulky or build huge manly-like muscles. Women simply don’t have enough natural testosterone in their bodies to make this possible.
Simply put, the more muscle you build, the tighter and more toned you’ll start to look.
The benefits to strength-training don’t stop here.
Not only is strength-training great for increasing your bone density (which we all need to do especially as we age), but it also increases your metabolism. This is because muscle is calorically expensive- meaning that the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns even at rest.
That’s why you may have heard that after a strength-training workout, your body continues to burn calories at an increased rate for up to 48 hours after. True fact!
Here’s another interesting fact; often we blame age for our metabolism decreasing. But the real reason metabolism can decrease is because starting at around age 30, the body loses between 3-5% of its muscle mass each decade.
So to keep your metabolism high and burn extra calories even while at rest, make strength-training workouts your main form of exercise.
Does this mean you should ditch the treadmill altogether? Nope! Cardio workouts (running, cycling, swimming, elliptical, stair climbing etc.) are fabulous for heart health and for burning even more calories. But unlike strength-training workouts, the majority of calories burned will only be during your actual cardio session. And it won’t get you that tight, toned, defined look.
If you have quite a lot of fat to lose, or if you only have a bit to lose but want to lose it quicker, then throw in a couple good cardio sessions alongside your weekly strength-training workouts.
Now that you know strength-training is THE answer to getting a fit, toned body, what’s next?
Knowing the best exercises to do and how to put it all together!
In my best-selling ebook, Transform Your Body in 30 Days, I give you a simple yet highly effective workout plan that you can do at home with only a couple pairs of dumbbells. Click here to learn more.
Food is also super important in helping you reach your fitness and weight goals, and I’ve included lots of info about that and an easy-to-follow plan in Transform Your Body in 30 Days.
1.Check out Transform Your Body in 30 Days.
2.What will you do this week to start including a bit of strength-training in your daily routine? Leave a comment below.
If you enjoyed this blog, share it with friends so they too can achieve the results they want!
It’s my joy to support you on your health and fitness journey.
Alethea is a certified fitness trainer, bikini competitor, weight loss and health coach. Click here to learn more about her.